The FBI has added Ignatova to its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List. The so-called CryptoQueen was the founder of OneCoin, a cryptocurrency that she once claimed would be the world’s biggest cryptocurrency--a “Bitcoin killer” as Ignatova put it. The FBI has posted a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to her arrest.
Why is this news interesting for Luxembourg? Well, one of Ignatova’s alleged associates in the OneCoin scheme is former secret service agent Frank Schneider. The US justice department is seeking Schneider’s extradition to the United States on charges of fraud and money laundering.
It was also Schneider, according to Ignatova’s brother Konstantin, who tipped the CryptoQueen off that the US authorities were on to her. While luring investors to divest up to $4 billion in OneCoin, Ignatova, the FBI says, “allegedly made false statements and representations to individuals”.
She was eventually charged on numerous counts by the United States District Court, Southern District of New York on October 12, 2017, and a federal warrant was issued for her arrest. But a week later, Ignatova travelled from Sofia in her native Bulgaria to Athens in Greece and since then no sightings of her have been reported. The FBI believes she may have travelled on a German passport to the United Arab Emirates, Bulgaria, Germany, Russia or somewhere else in Eastern Europe. The bureau also warns that “Ignatova is believed to travel with armed guards and/or associates. Ignatova may have had plastic surgery or otherwise altered her appearance.”
As for Schneider, in January the Court of Appeal of Nancy gave the green light for his extradition. But he has appealed the court’s ruling and the case could end up in the French council of state. Even then, it is up to the French prime minister to sign the extradition order.